A message for patients coping with cancer over Christmas

For those with cancer, Christmas can be a difficult time.














For those with cancer, the Christmas period can be challenging time.

To help patients and families cope with the emotions that can surface during the festive season, the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre at Westmead Hospital has shared a heart-warming message of advice and support.

Cancer centre director Professor Paul Harnett said there is no right or wrong way for cancer patients to feel at Christmas time.

“Christmas is an emotional time for many people. We often take the time to reflect on the year that has been,” said Professor Harnett.

“If you have cancer, it can be a reminder that you aren’t as healthy as you once were or would like to be.

“Please be assured that everyone will react and cope in their own way. Some people just want to forget about their cancer for the holiday season. Some see it as a time to move forward with the New Year and, if possible, celebrate by putting cancer behind them.

“Others may need time to think about what they’ve been through and what may happen in the future.

“Remember, partners and family members may share these feelings too.

“I recommend you talk through your feelings with someone close to you.

“Most importantly, celebrate your strengths. You’ve come very far. Celebrate the courage you didn’t know you had, and build on that over the holiday season.”

Some additional tips:

– Make plans to get together with friends, family or co-workers. Find the right balance between spending time with people and being on your own.
– Enjoy special moments. Focus on happy times rather than dwelling on how cancer has changed the festive season.
– Talk to your health care team about upcoming special events to organise your appointments if needed.
– Express your feelings. Don’t hold them in. Share them with a loved one, a friend or a professional counsellor, it can be comforting.